David Koning Is Only Just Beginning

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Celebrating Diversity In The Entertainment Industry



Is Only Just Beginning! p.18

THE 81ST GOLDEN GLOBES Honoring The Winners Of The Best In Both Film & Television p.8

DR. EMILY LETRAN & MELANIE REMBRANDT Is This The Year Your New Year’s Resolution Will Become a Reality? p.32

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Letter From The Editor WELCOME READERS to another issue of Hollywood Weekly! We have an incredibly inspirational story for this issue’s front cover. David Koning, a 36-year-old sports enthusiast, founded Children Changing Lives in 2007. At the age of 3, Koning was forced to undergo three heart surgeries, which has left him with brain damage, seizures, cerebral palsy, and a rare condition, Hypoplastic Left Heart syndrome. Even when things took a turn for the worst, he has still manages to do what he loves, playing as a point-guard on the Special Olympics basketball team. In additon, we feature Dr. Emily Letran and Melanie Rembrandt, who go into detail about making, and keeping, your New Year’s resolutions! They mentor dozens of others and are willing to share their wisdom with many more people, just like you. You can make your goals a reality, and they are here to help with that. Missed the Golden Globes? We’ve got all the highlights for you, as well as the nominations for this year’s Grammys! Need something new to watch? We’ve got you covered! We’ve highlighted some new movies and TV shows coming out in the next month; you can find these in theaters or on some of your favorite streaming platforms. We also feature some other incredible people: Anthony Bambocci, Dr. Barbara Saunders, Jolie Curtsinger, Dana Marisa Schoenfeld, Saacha Space, Joe Sparrow, and Robert James Atton.

Thank you, readers, for once again supporting Hollywood Weekly Magazine. We are nothing without you.

Prather Jackson

Celebrating Diversity In The Entertainment Industry


Is Only Just Beginning! p.18

THE 81ST GOLDEN GLOBES Honoring The Winners Of The Best In Both Film & Television p.8

DR. EMILY LETRAN & MELANIE REMBRANDT Is This The Year Your New Year’s Resolution Will Become a Reality? p.32

Prather Jackson Publisher


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ROUNDUP TV and Film 81st GOLDEN GLOBES Award Winners

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DAVID KONING He’s Only Just Beginning! LETRAN & REMBRANDT Keep Your Resolutions!

...and more!

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GET READY TO SING YOUR HEART OUT with the season 22 premiere of American Idol on February 18, with a new year full of talented individuals who finally get the opportunity to share their voices on stage with an audience. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest and featuring our favorite celebrity judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, the excitement behind who among the many contenstants will shine in this year’s season. America is excited to tune in and listen to the powerful and emotional sounds of music from those who are willing to step up on stage and show the world what they are made of. American Idol has become wellknown for being the greatest starting point for artists such as Kelly Clarkson and Adam Lambert. As for who will be able to stand on top and rise to the challenge this year, America is ready to see and hear.


FINAL SEASON IT’S ONLY LOGICAL that after seven long years of seeing the past through the eyes of our favorite quirky and intelligent mind of Sheldon J Cooper from The Big Bang Theory, the series will have its final season premiere on February 16. Before becoming a physicist with a nerdy roommate and an attractive neighbor across the hall of his apartment, we took a deep dive into the childhood of this inquisitive individual and showed how even being the smartest one in the family can have its many ups and downs. In this series, many audiences finally got the chance to see the truth behind the tidbits, references and mere mentions of what his childhood was like, growing up in Medford, Texas, back in The Big Bang Theory. Through the trials and tribulations that had fans wondering when certain points of Sheldon Cooper’s life were to look up or down, along with certain characters such as his father, played by Lance Barber. Through the interesting takes on the members of the Cooper family, we saw that there was more to what we envisioned and what we imagined based on what we heard in Sheldon’s adult life. Once we saw the truth 4 • Hollywood Weekly

behind the stories and tales with our own eyes when this series premiered back in 2017, fans began to see just how much was going on both in the eyes of Sheldon himself, and his family with the turmoil they went through together. While this series may be coming to an end, fans can say that this marks the end of an era, as the prequel to the emmy award winning series is slowly reaching its end. As for what is in store for this final season, we can only wait and see as the ultimate final chapter of the childhood for the bright young mind approaches ever so soon.



A HEART-THROBBING LOVE is burning in the air in this season, as The Bachelor returns on January 22. This year, the lucky man on the mantle is Joey Graziadei, an eligible bachelor who multiple women will seize the opportunity in hopes of being his one true love. In this drama-filled season with many emotional moments, only one will discover their true love with this lucky man.




THE RETURN OF A CLASSIC is something worth celebrating, and for those who have grown up with the animated series that premiered in 2005, many will see this new take on the series as reuniting with an old friend from the distant past. This new live-action iteration of the series will soon premiere on February 22nd, with a cast that has old and new fans excited for what is to come with this distinctive look into the journey surrounding the four elements.

While the previous attempt on making the beloved animated series into live-action didn’t quite hit the mark with fans back in 2010, many are hoping that this time, it will meet expectations better now in the form of a live-action series rather than a full feature-length film. Ever since the resurgence of the fandom back in May 2020, upon the rerelease of the animated series on Netflix, new and old fans are wanting to see and revisit what made this story so

profoundly loved and emotionally engaging through a new lens, with hope that it will still capture the magic as it did back then. There have been a lot of questions over what has been shown throughout the course of production, along with what executive producer and showrunner Albert Kim has in store for those who have eagerly waited for this series. Soon, fans of the world that is composed of four distinct nations based on the four elements will get their answers.

DISNEY’S A REAL BUG’S LIFE IN A LIFE 70 TIMES SMALLER THAN OURS, get ready to experience the nine different micro bug worlds around the globe, where we see a true look into how these tiny creatures live their lives on Planet Earth. Inspired by the Pixar animated classic of the same name, audiences will get to bear witness to the interesting life of the creatures that fit in the palm of your hand. Narrated by the fun and witty voice of Awkwafina, audiences will see how the forces of nature will play out on a miniature scale and witness how tiny creatures brave the world we live in. On January 24 on Disney+, this series that will showcase bugs and how they are brought up in the high stakes world that humans live in. From the concrete jungle

of New York to the vast landscapes of Coasta RIca, bugs will have their time in the spotlight as we get to see just what kind of adventures they have. Not to mention the many dangers and threats on a miniature scale that these little creatures must face in order to survive and thrive on Earth. This family-friendly series shows the mind-blowing aspect of bugs in a way that makes them feel like they too are a part of the world bugs live in. It will truly feel as though we are revisiting the classic animated tale of bugs we saw on screen, thanks to Pixar’s passionate storytelling in A Bug’s Life back in 1998, only with real bugs. This will make audiences realize that in the shoes of the many bugs we see in the world, it truly is a small world after all. Hollywood Weekly • 5




New Releases of the Month

Housekeeping for Beginners

January 26


February 2

The Promised Land

Only In Movie Theaters

Only In Movie Theaters

Only In Movie Theaters

Lisa Frankenstein

Bob Marley: One Love

February 14

Madame Web

February 14

Only In Movie Theaters

Only In Movie Theaters

Only In Movie Theaters

February 9

6 • Hollywood Weekly

February 2


New Releases of the Month


January 25


January 26

Masters Of The Air

Only On Netflix

Only On Amazon Prime

Only on Apple TV+

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Abbott Elementary Season 3

February 7

Halo Season 2

February 8

Only On Amazon Prime

Only on Hulu

Only on Paramount+

February 2

February 2

Hollywood Weekly • 7




Best Screenplay — Motion Picture Justine Triet and Arthur Harari "Anatomy of a Fall"

Best Motion Picture - Drama "Oppenheimer"

Best Motion Picture - Non-English Language "Anatomy of a Fall" (France)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama Cinematic and Box Office Achievement "Barbie"

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy "Poor Things" 8 • Hollywood Weekly

Lily Gladstone "Killers of the Flower Moon"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Television Series Elizabeth Debicki "The Crown"

Best Television Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television "Beef"

Best Television Series - Drama "Succession"

Best Director - Motion Picture Christopher Nolan "Oppenheimer"

Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy "The Bear"

Hollywood Weekly • 9




Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama Cillian Murphy "Oppenheimer"

Best Original Song — Motion Picture "What Was I Made For?" by Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell (from "Barbie")

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture Robert Downey Jr. "Oppenheimer"

Steven Yeun

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy


Ayo Edebiri "The Bear"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

Ali Wong

Jeremy Allen White

"Beef" 10 • Hollywood Weekly

"The Bear"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy Paul Giamatti "The Holdovers"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

Emma Stone "Poor Things"

Da'Vine Joy Randolph "The Holdovers"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Television Series

Best Performance in Stand-Up Comedy on Television

Matthew Macfadyen

"Ricky Gervais: Armageddon"


Best Motion Picture - Animated "The Boy and the Heron"

Best Original Score — Motion Picture Ludwig Göransson "Oppenheimer"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama Sarah Snook "Succession"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama Kieran Culkin "Succession" Hollywood Weekly • 11

Celebrate Music By Watching The 66th Annual Grammy Awards


t’s a new year full of infinite possibilities, and things are already shaping up to be a very productive for the entertainment industry! On Feburary 4th, the world will soon be blessed with the power of music this year, as many musicans from around the world will gather to celebrate the world’s most anticipated music awards ceremony. For 2024, there are many nominees whom have earned their place in the long list of catagories, and we are eager to see just who will come out on top for their sincere dedication with their hard work. This is an event that will soon be filled with invigorating performances mixed with moments full of emotion and well-deserved victories. With Trevor Noah taking the helm as host of this annual event, audiences will be tuning in on the CBS Television Network and will be streaming on Paramount+ to see the lucky winners and get a full recap on the highlights of last year’s music and the trendy tunes that took the world by storm. As for who will be the lucky winners in each catagory, only time will tell for the various artists with February around the corner.

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The event will be held at the crypto.com arena in Los Angeles, and will be kicking things off for the music industry in a way that has traditionally stood the test of time over its 66-year-long run. Being one of the most recognized events, there couldn’t be a better event to start the year on a strong, high note, with the musical talent of our generation being in the forefront of the world’s eyes. The Grammy’s have always shown an almost electrifying energy that has always set the tone for the “pregame” for the new year’s soon-to-be trendy music in the works, and this year is no exception. While there may be some expected wins, there will also come to be unexpected surprises around the corner that many may not be able to predict, and for that, audiences will be on the edge of their seats.

What makes the Grammy’s so intriguing and almost hard to turn away from are some of the important moments that don’t follow under the awards themselves. Artists are given the chance to shine individually through their fashion to help stand out amongst the other candidates, to shine through fashion statements compared to their musical performances. Not to mention that winners are given the opportunity to show their feelings on stage, how they feel and how they raise their voices to even social issues more important than the accolade they receive. While it is not an event to fall under controversy, music is still the major draw to audiences, wanting to see if their favorite artist earns their place with other award-winning artists, with the same dedication to their craft as the year unfolds.

Trevor Noah, Four-Time Host and Proud Nominee for the 2024 Grammy Awards


revor Noah has already begun to shine in the entertainment industry in the new year, and the Grammy’s has become the first place to make an entrance for what will be a productive one. Being a South African comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and former television host, we couldn’t ask for a more suitable person to fulfil the important role as host for this grand event. However, this year will be extraordinary for this man, as Trevor will not only be hosting the Grammy Awards ceremony for the fourth year in a row, but he’s also been nominated for Best Comedy Album for his title, I Wish You Would. For Trevor Noah, this event has become one to look forward to, not simply just for everybody who are eager to tune in for it, but for himself as well. On his podcast, What Now? With Trevor Noah, Trevor has gone on record to state that hosting the event is a lot of fun, because he gets the prime chance to not only watch and enjoy the show in person, but also getting the chance to experience

it on stage while it’s happening. It is an understandable feeling to have, especially with the anticipation and hopes of winning an award hanging on his shoulders. While many will probably find this surprising, or even strange, Trevor Noah is not the only one who has not only earned the chance to host, but also to be nominated. If Noah were to be awarded for this year’s catagory of Best Comedy Album, he will be known as the second artist to ever be nominated while also taking the reigns as host for the Grammy’s. The first instance of this happening is dated all the way back in 1980, when American singer and songwriter Kenny Rogers hosted for the Grammy’s in sunny Los Angeles. He won an award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance and was still celebrated while being the host for this event that has stood the test of time for the music industry. While he will be missed since his unfortunate passing in 2020, we believe he would be happy to see another host get the same chance as he did.

Kenny Rogers smiling with his award received for Best Male Country Vocal Performance at the 1980 Grammy Awards at LA’s Shrine Auditorium, which he also hosted.

Hollywood Weekly • 13

Endless Summer Vacation Album by Miley Cyrus

Midnights Album by Taylor Swift

UTOPIA Album by Travis Scott

2024 Grammy Award Catagories GENERAL FIELD Record of the Year Worship Jon Batiste

Not Strong Enough boygenius Flowers Miley Cyrus What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”] Billie Eilish On My Mama Victoria Monét Vampire Olivia Rodrigo Anti-Hero Taylor Swift Kill Bill SZA

Album of the Year World Music Radio Jon Batiste the record boygenius

The Age Of Pleasure Janelle Monáe GUTS Olivia Rodrigo Midnights Taylor Swift

Flowers Miley Cyrus

Paint The Town Red Doja Cat


What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”] Billie Eilish

Song of the Year A&W

Vampire Olivia Rodrigo

Lana Del Rey Anti-Hero Taylor Swift Butterfly Jon Batiste

Anti-Hero Taylor Swift

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Thousand Miles Miley Cyrus Featuring Brandi Carlile

Dance The Night (From Barbie The Album) Dua Lipa

Candy Necklace Lana Del Rey Featuring Jon Batiste

Flowers Miley Cyrus

Never Felt So Alone Labrinth Featuring Billie Eilish

Kill Bill Rob Bisel, Carter Lang & Solána Rowe, songwriters (SZA)

Karma Taylor Swift Featuring Ice Spice

Endless Summer Vacation Miley Cyrus

Vampire Daniel Nigro & Olivia Rodrigo, songwriters (Olivia Rodrigo)

Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd Lana Del Rey

What Was I Made For? [From The Motion Picture “Barbie”] Billie Eilish

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FIELD 1: POP & DANCE/ ELECTRONIC MUSIC Best Pop Solo Performance

Ghost In The Machine SZA Featuring Phoebe Bridgers

FIELD 2: ROCK, METAL & ALTERNATIVE MUSIC Best Rock Performance Sculptures Of Anything Goes Arctic Monkeys

More Than A Love Song Black Pumas Not Strong Enough Boygenius Rescued Foo Fighters Lux Æterna Metallica

Best Metal Performance Bad Man Disturbed

Phantom Of The Opera Ghost 72 Seasons Metallica Hive Mind Slipknot Jaded Spiritbox Adele Accepting Her Award for Best Solo Performance at the 2023 Annual Grammy Awards, Last Year.

FIELD 3: R&B, RAP & SPOKEN WORD POETRY Best R&B Song Angel Halle

Back To Love Robert Glasper Featuring SiR & Alex Isley ICU Coco Jones On My Mama Victoria Monét Snooze SZA

Best Rap Album

Her Loss Drake & 21 Savage MICHAEL Killer Mike

UTOPIA Travis Scott

Bewitched Laufey


Holidays Around The World Pentatonix

Best Jazz Vocal Album

For Ella 2 Patti Austin Featuring Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band Alive At The Village Vanguard Fred Hersch & Esperanza Spalding Lean In Gretchen Parlato & Lionel Loueke Mélusine Cécile McLorin Salvant How Love Begins Nicole Zuraitis

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

Only The Strong Survive Bruce Springsteen Sondheim Unplugged (The NYC Sessions), Vol. 3 Various Artists FIELD 5: COUNTRY & AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC

Best Country Album

Rolling Up The Welcome Mat Kelsea Ballerini Brothers Osborne Brothers Osborne Zach Bryan Zach Bryan


To Steve With Love: Liz Callaway Celebrates Sondheim Liz Callaway

Rustin’ In The Rain Tyler Childers

King’s Disease III Nas

Pieces Of Treasure Rickie Lee Jones

Bell Bottom Country Lainey Wilson Hollywood Weekly • 15

Best Americana Album

Friendship The Blind Boys Of Alabama Help Me Make It Through The Night Tyler Childers Dear Insecurity Brandy Clark Featuring Brandi Carlile King Of Oklahoma Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit The Returner Allison Russell

A Ciegas Paula Arenas

Electrophonic Chronic The Arcs

La Neta Pedro Capó

Gravity Falls Brad Breeck

Don Juan Maluma

Migration Leaf Yeh

X Mí (Vol. 1) Gaby Moreno

Stumpwork Dry Cleaning

Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album




Leche De Tigre Diamante Eléctrico

I Love You Erica Campbell

Vida Cotidiana Juanes

Hymns (Live) Tasha Cobbs Leonard

De Todas Las Flores Natalia Lafourcade

Com Que Voz (Live) Maria Mendes Featuring John Beasley & Metropole Orkest

The Maverick Way Maverick City Music

EADDA9223 Fito Paez

Fenestra Cécile McLorin Salvant

My Truth Jonathan McReynolds


In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning säje Featuring Jacob Collier

Best Gospel Album

All Things New: Live In Orlando Tye Tribbett

Best Contemporary Christian Music Album My Tribe Blessing Offor Emanuel Da’ T.R.U.T.H. Lauren Daigle Lauren Daigle Church Clothes 4 Lecrae I Believe Phil Wickham FIELD 7: LATIN, GLOBAL, REGGAE & NEW AGE, AMBIENT, OR CHANT

Best Latin Pop Album La Cuarta Hoja Pablo Alborán

Beautiful Humans, Vol. 1 AleMor 16 • Hollywood Weekly

Best Children’s Music Album Ahhhhh! Andrew & Polly

Ancestars Pierce Freelon & Nnenna Freelon Hip Hope For Kids! DJ Willy Wow! Taste The Sky Uncle Jumbo We Grow Together Preschool Songs 123 Andrés FIELD 9: PACKAGE, NOTES & HISTORICAL

Best Recording Package The Art Of Forgetting Caroline Rose

April In Paris Patti Austin Featuring Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band

Lush Life Samara Joy

FIELD 11: CLASSICAL Best Orchestral Performance Adès: Dante Los Angeles Philharmonic

Bartók: Concerto For Orchestra; Four Pieces Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra Price: Symphony No. 4; Dawson: Negro Folk Symphony The Philadelphia Orchestra Scriabin: Symphony No. 2; The Poem Of Ecstasy Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Stravinsky: The Rite Of Spring San Francisco Symphony



David Koning Is Only Just Beginning

By Jonathon Ornelas

“This is a story that needs to be told,”

is what David Koning reiterated throughout his interview with Hollywood Weekly. David Koning founded Children Changing Lives back in 2007. Now at 36, the sports enthusiast with the rare condition of Hypoplastic Left Heart syndrome carries bigger ambitions for his organization. For a person with half a heart, David’s mindset is whole-hearted. Forced to undergo three heart surgeries at the age of three, David Koning is a man who wakes up every morning grateful that his heart is 18 • Hollywood Weekly

pumping efficiently. His third heart surgery took a turn for the worse when David experienced cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead for six minutes. Fortunately, excellent medical care and a miracle restored David’s heart rhythm. While the event led to David having brain damage, seizures, and cerebral palsy, David is still completing his education, working towards a degree in psychology, learning to live with his seizures, and even playing the sport he loves, basketball. When a journalist asked David Koning if his condition affects his day-to-day life, he casually mentioned, “Not really,

I just take a baby aspirin, and that’s it,” which is quite shocking considering the circumstances. He participated in a Special Olympics Basketball team as a point guard, averaging 4 to 5 assists and double-digit points. When asked what kind of point guard he considers himself, a natural shooting three-pointer, point guard defender, or offense commander, he claimed “all of the above,” he can do everything on the court, even rim protection if he has to. In the last game of the season, David scored 25 points. He enjoys the competitiveness of basketball with his teammates, such as his shooting guard Josh, who does not let autism affect

his three-point game, and Andrew, who does not let down syndrome affect how he controls the paint. Since David Koning’s last interview was before COVID-19, the question of how COVID-19 affected the organization came into play. Children Changing Lives is currently on break because of the pandemic; it’s also preventing the partnership with another organization, whom David mentioned he is great friends with. Chris and David Koning are plotting the organization’s next series of events and collaborations. However, they plan to emerge more robust than ever in about 1 to 3 years once the pandemic settles. David also opened up about having COVID-19, and while the virus can be deadly for people with heart conditions, David brushed off COVID-19 like any other common cold, “No, it didn’t; I mean, I had some kind of symptoms but not bad at all, it was very mild,” showing the world that he has a strong heart.

very social.” While others may think that David’s disability is holding him back, he accepts the challenges that come with it and uses it as an amplifier for his personality. In an interview with David’s aunt, known as Sandy, she mentioned that since David really couldn’t play sports in his youth, he tries to get others to enjoy the games he loves, “He has been an

instrument to help other disabled children or young adults to come to different sporting events, and he would contact different non-profits to get that arranged.” This arrangement of taking disabled individuals to games is one of the main ways Children Changing Lives wants to get publicity in the future. When speaking to Max True Blood, a person who


David Koning’s family members and friends have learned to live with his heart condition; when interviewing some of his family members, they mentioned how David is someone with a soft heart. When interviewing Matthew, a cousin of David living in the bayside, Matthew said how much of a support David was when his father passed away in 2022: “He definitely has a softer spot than some people see.” Others know David with a certain resilience. Cousin Brandon had a lot to say about David, “It’s almost like he knew he had a disability, and he never felt like ‘I just want to be like everyone else.’ he almost was ok being different.” Brandon also mentioned David’s sense of humor and poised charisma, “he’s always trying to make people laugh, and he’s

“While others may think that David’s disability is holding him back, he accepts the challenges that come with it and uses it as an amplifier for his personality.” Hollywood Weekly • 19

attempted to get the Los Angeles Clippers to move to Orange County or Anaheim in 2014, Max would take out David Koning to various sporting events. They would watch Duck games, Angel games, Clipper games, and even a Laker game with Kobe dribbling the ball against the Golden State Warriors. While Max, at the moment, does not currently contribute his genius to Children Changing Lives, he is more than willing to do so. One idea Max had in mind was not just to take David to sporting events, but an entire group of disabled individuals, “if they have authorization, we can take them to places, have them experience things they wouldn’t otherwise experience.” Children Changing Lives also gets much publicity from appearing on network television shows. David had the chance to meet Charles Barkley and Dr. Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal, members of the NBA Half-Time Show. David also answered questions for Steve Harvey on Family Feud, where the whole family participated. The Los Angeles Lakers even featured David in a documentary about his annual heart check-up at UCLA, which we encourage readers to check out. There is a sense of shock to learn that only David Koning and one other woman are the only people on the West Coast who made it past their thirties while dealing with their heart condition. David uses basketball to connect with the people around him, people like Patricia Bondurant. If her name sounds familiar, it is because she was married to Bob Bondurant, the famous Ferrari formula driver. During an interview with Patricia, she mentioned how much of an inspiration and blessing David Koning has been to her. Before Patricia met David, she said how people with disabilities would shut her down, and she wasn’t sure why she would react in this manner. “I’ve always felt like I was one of these people where I didn’t judge anyone, but I would shut down with people with disabilities until I met David.” Patricia emphasized how important this experience was with David because, in her life, she witnessed certain people carrying presuppositions about people with disabilities. When David invited Patricia to his backyard to shoot threepointers, she noticed David swishing three-pointers and was amazed, “I was so completely caught off guard!” She would 20 • Hollywood Weekly

learn that his disability did not stop David from doing what he wanted. Later that day, Patricia conversed with David and realized just how much of a personality he is, “what a charismatic person.” Stories like Patricia’s are necessary to share with the world because it can only take one person and one event to change a person’s perception. This story also shows that David’s enthusiasm for sports is necessary because when people witness David command the offense or shoot three-pointers, despite his disabilities, he shatters people’s view on how to perceive people with disabilities. Patricia Bondurant has gone on to be on the board of Treasure House, an organization founded by Brenda and Kurt Warner that helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Perhaps Children Changing Lives and Treasure House can partner up and work together on a groundbreaking project in the future.


David’s previous work with Children Changing Lives includes working with Blaze Pizza, The Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and the Los Angeles Clippers. If one knows David’s history, one can observe why David wanted to work with a pizza organization. When interviewing Debbie, a neighbor of David, she mentioned how David and her husband Jim would connect through pizza. “they would go down on the weekends... and David knew everyone at Zee’s Pizza, and David would always get the pizza for free because they love him... everyone loves him.” It makes sense why David would want to help serve pizza to the community. His last interview occurred four years ago, and much has happened since then. New organizations aim to partner with Children Changing Lives to spread the story of David Koning. He mentioned working with the American Heart Association and the Cancer Research Foundation in this recent interview. Most new partners with Children Changing Lives are medical facilities and nonprofit organizations. Hopefully, David Koning’s story will be featured on ESPN, a milestone for the organization. Patricia Bondurant suggested that David Koning should start a sports talk show where David can give his analyses on specific sports topics of the day and contribute to

the never-ending conversation about who the G.O.A.T. is, Lebron James or Michael Jordan. This would be a great idea to promote the non-profit organization; many people in David Koning’s circle mention how much of a genius he can be when it comes to breaking down plays or understanding match-ups. Another milestone for David Koning and Children Changing Lives is for David’s life story to be shown on the silver screen. In this recent interview, David mentioned that while he doesn’t have a clear vision of how the first scene of the film will look like, he knows that being a survivor of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is a miracle story that can inspire the nation, change people’s perceptions of how to view people with disabilities and to view every day as a miracle. Not only is David concerned about how the public perceives people with disabilities and playing basketball, but also with the rate of suicide in America, according to

“David’s story of living with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is an essential story to share with anyone who lives with a heart condition.” Paticia Bondorant. Every year, the suicide rate in America is increasing, and David understands that mental illness can disable a person. As Changing Children’s Lives grows to new heights, their slogan, “You only have one life; don’t waste it.” will resonate with many others. One of David’s primary goals in life was to be able to work with Kobe Bryant in a potential partnership. Since Kobe uplifted Los Angeles to its feet, David gravitated towards his energy, but since the great Kobe Bryant is no longer with us, he can no longer fulfill this goal. David still carries ambitions of working with The Los Angeles Lakers in the future; in his interview, David showed his vision of joining the Lakers’ staff in any way, shape, or form as long as his position helped those with heart conditions and disabilities. Perhaps if Lebron James knew that David considered him the

greatest of all time, Lebron might just give David a letter of recommendation. In truth, Lebron might consider David’s story significant because of the recent events Bronny James went through in the current year. As any Laker fan knows, Lebron James has dedicated the 20232024 season to his son after Bronny experienced cardiac arrest and had to undergo surgery. Bronny James and David Koning are not letting their heart conditions stop them from playing the game they have dedicated their lives to. A job with the USC staff wouldn’t really hurt either. David’s story of living with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is an essential story to share with anyone who lives with a heart condition. The family and friends who have surrounded David his entire life have changed them to become better understanding human beings. While his heart condition may sound like a lot to handle, David is finding time to play basketball, dissect his favorite sports, and build a non-profit organization from the ground up. David Koning and his father, Chris Koning, have the potential to start many different endeavors with Children Changing Lives, whether that includes partnering with Max and taking disabled children to their favorite sporting events or partnering with Kurt Warner’s non-profit organization or partnering with Lebron and Bronny James, or completing his children’s book. David also understands that mental illnesses can affect the heart, adding mental illness awareness to the Children Changing Lives agenda. Many people with heart conditions might experience a sense of doom because the heart is arguably the most crucial organ in the human body, and these people might think it all goes down from there. Still, David and Chris Koning would disagree and tell the world that it’s only the beginning. As Children Changing Lives says, “You only have one life; don’t waste it.”

CONTACT INFORMATION David Koning Email: dkoning501@aol.com. Phone: (949) 923-1423 Hollywood Weekly • 21


M A S T E R S E L F. M A S T E R T H E U N I V E R S E .

Dr. Saacha Spade:

Guiding the Soul and Securing Financial Legacies for Generations

By Brandon Webster


r. Saacha Spade stands as a beacon of extraordinary depth and unparalleled expertise. With not one, but two PhDs in Metaphysics, Dr. Spade emerges as a thought-provoking speaker, wealth preservation expert, educator, author, and a devoted student of Trust Law. The sheer breadth of her specialties propels her into a league of her own, where the sky’s the limit for this multifaceted trailblazer. Whether one seeks spiritual enlightenment or financial acumen, Dr. Spade’s diverse skill set has it all covered. As the spiritual currents of our time ascend towards a higher frequency, Dr. Spade has dedicated her life to a mission of guiding and educating those eager to seize control of their spiritual and financial destinies. Her journey is not just a personal odyssey; it’s a call to action for individuals yearning to unlock their innermost prowess, a power that resonates within each of us.

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Through the intricate dance of spirituality and finance, Dr. Spade gracefully weaves a narrative that transcends the ordinary. For nearly fifteen years, she has been a guiding force in the realm of wealth preservation, showcasing an expertise that has awakened the eyes of businesses to the systematic adversities and sacred guidelines imperative for thriving in today’s complex world. Yet, Dr. Spade is not merely an expert in her field; she is a spiritual leader navigating through the adversities her beliefs may bring. Undeterred, she remains a stalwart advocate for the betterment of our world. Her unwavering commitment to assisting mankind in treating the world with reverence and respect is both inspiring and commendable. Spade’s passion extends beyond the financial realm, embracing the timeless concept of building and preserving legacies for future generations. Through her teachings, she imparts not just knowledge but a profound understanding of the duty each individual holds in uplifting others.

Her mission is to empower individuals to become the best versions of themselves, enabling them to pass on this knowledge to others, thus creating a ripple effect that resonates through the ages. In Dr. Spade’s vision, we are all interconnected in a collective consciousness. As she states, “we are all in this together.” The idea that each individual contributes to the whole underscores the importance of extending a helping hand to our neighbors, recognizing that by doing so, we elevate not only ourselves but to humanity. Dr. Spade’s philosophy is rooted in the belief that our duty to one another is a sacred pact, a commitment to shine the light of love and compassion in a world that needs it. In essence, Dr. Saacha Spade transcends the conventional boundaries of a business person. She is a luminary, a sage, and a guiding force ushering us to a future where spirituality and financial wisdom intertwine to create a legacy of enlightenment and prosperity for generations to come.

Dr. Saacha Spade (Left) Standing and Smiling Alongside Oprah Winfrey (Right)

Okay, I will be honest, I was doing some research and I love exactly what you’re doing of spreading information on how to take care of yourself financially and spiritually. So, just to get started, could you kind of just explain a little bit of your story of how you’ve gotten to this point, exactly where you’re at today? I know it’s a lot. Dr. Spade: Well, I appreciate the excitement. It’s been very challenging, as you can imagine. A lot of adversity is really the bottom line. Adversity not fitting in and then also being able to recognize all of the illusions, the things that have appeared to be real, that seem to all be connected to an invisible hand that’s controlling everybody. I recognized that very early on, probably grade school, and tried to continually fit in and conform and do the quote unquote right thing, but it just didn’t make sense to me. And as I continued to grow, this is the way that my journey just kept pushing me to the left while everybody was going right, and so it wasn’t something that I chose, it was, more so, something that chose me. And it’s been challenging because, you know, the message was definitely before its time and now people are starting to awaken to these, these truths. But you can imagine I’ve been singing this song a long time now.

“As the spiritual currents of our time ascend towards a higher frequency, Dr. Spade has dedicated her life to a mission of guiding and educating those eager to seize control of their spiritual and financial destinies.” I was really inspired by your writings and even going into the term “the victim app” and people playing victim and not really taking control of their lives because they’re constantly neglecting the responsibilities and wanting to seek an escapegoat, but not knowing that running from their problems 24-7 is actually prolonging them from seeking peace, and I think a lot of people need to understand the peace that they’re seeking is normally within the adversity that they’re running away from. Dr. Spade: So it’s exactly that and you know I tell people all the time, you know you can’t

run away from who you believe yourself to be and so, no matter what you do, who you believe yourself to be is going to show up in your life. You think it’s the circumstances, but really, who you believe that you are is what’s manifesting those circumstances, and those circumstances are manifesting to mirror back to you and it’s the uncomfortability which will wake you up, but if you don’t have that oppression, I mean you will never seek that kind of freedom. I like to do a little ending question, just to end things on a greater note. So if the entire world was tuned in to our conversation right now, what’s a message that you would have for them at this very moment? Dr. Spade: I would say master yourself, or be mastered by thought. I live by that because if you don’t master yourself, you will be mastered by somebody else, you know. So I think that when people realize that you know, think for yourself or somebody else who’s gonna think for you. It’s the same thing. You know, you better take control over your reality, or you’re going to be controlled by someone else who’s going to give you their version of what your reality is supposed to look like. Hollywood Weekly • 23


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Hollywood Weekly • 25

JOLIE CURTSINGER & DANA MARISA SCHOENFELD Talking about EAST, their new comedy series By Alex A. Kecskes


nown for Swiped Right, Divorce School, and Sasha, actress, writer, director, and native New Yorker, Dana Marisa Schoenfeld graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She studied acting at Warner Loughlin Studios in Los Angeles and AMAW in New York City. Dana won a two-year scholarship through the Creative Screenwriting Magazine Screen-writing Expo to study screenwriting at Writers Boot Camp in Santa Monica. Dana has been working as a writer, a director, and an actress for over a decade and her work has been recognized in film festivals around the world. She has been honored to receive awards in a variety of categories including directing, screenwriting, acting, and film editing. Known for Bastion, Loanshark, The Perfect Fit, and The Dry Spell, New York-based Jolie Cutsinger is a theater, film, and television actor, as well as a producer. She is the Artistic Director of InProximity Theatre Company and founding producer of Project W Theater Festival, an annual reading festival which highlighting various female playwrights, directors and theater professionals. In EAST, Dana and Jolie unite their talents in a quirky comedy set in the fast-moving world of New York City’s entertainment industry. Dana

26 • Hollywood Weekly

is Ella, a precocious, self-deprecating attorney struggling to achieve her childhood dream of becoming an actor. Jolie is Lacey, a toughtaking, no-nonsense studio executive dead set on producing a hit film.

Thank you for taking the time for this interview. So which of you ignited the initial spark to create this quirky series? Dana: I came up with the idea in 2017. I filmed the pilot for a short film challenge. And then I shot another episode in 2020. Everyone was excited about the series so I wrote the next six episodes. Jolie: We shot all six episodes. And reshot some of the initial episodes. So we have season one done. We don’t have distribution as yet, but we’re streaming in front of a live audience in New York. We’re hoping that it finds the right home . EAST has kind of a Neil Simon, Woody Allen vibe with its whipsmart dialog and edgy humor. Did any of those writers inspire you? Dana: I love Woody Allen. I’ve always been a fan of his work. Watching a Woody Allen film growing up in New York, I could see the neuroses of being in New York City.

So Dana, how did you prepare for the role of Ella, a woman in search of her true calling? Dana: Ella is loosely based on my life. I was a political science major at the University of Michigan. I always thought, and everyone around me always thought, that I’d go to law school or become a journalist. But when I graduated from college, I realized that my real passion was in movies and television. So I went to L.A. and fell in love with the business. I spent six months there, then moved back to New York and started my career at NBC in the Page Program. I had this extraordinary opportunity to work as a page at 30 Rockefeller Center. I worked on Late Night with Conan Obrien, on Saturday Night Live. I got to see the business and production sides of the industry. But in my heart, I wanted to be an actress. It was an incredible opportunity to be on both sides, knowing that at some point, I was going to get into acting. So stepping into Ella was like taking a journey back into that 22-year-old girl, and thinking how do I show my stuff, how do I get there? So it was a pretty easy character for me to flip back into. My father went to law school and business school and he thought that following him would be the trajectory of my life. There’s a line in episode four where he says, “Don’t move to Los Angeles, the entire country is tilted to the West and all the loose screws fall to Los Angeles.” He said that to me when I moved

to L.A. So my father was pessimistic. But my mother always believed in living your dreams. Similar question for Jolie? How did you prepare for the role of Lacey, a hard-asnails, industry-savvy movie producer? Jolie: Lacey’s role is so delicious. I had the luxury of developing this character with Dana. She asked me, “What’s exciting to you about Lacey?” For me, it’s her unapologetic power and humanity. She leads with her power but you get to see more of her quirks as the series goes on. I think it’s interesting because we have all these people going after their big dreams. But it’s a lie, it’s all-consuming. So Lacey is at a very high level of success but she’s still coping in her way. I love that she’s tough but she also has a heart. And she’s a little messed up—like all of us. Ella went from elation to total crash and burn at the very beginning. What was your thinking there? Dana: I wanted her to have this wake-up call. I think we’re really jinxed about losing something because it’s so easy to wake up every day, live your life, and not be aware that you’re not living your dreams or your best life. I think, sometimes, what may seem to be a tragedy is a blessing. Ella doesn’t realize it yet. Her journey is long. In the end, we hope that her perceived losses will be a blessing for her. While she’s losing the things that give her comfort, that she thought would make her happy, it allows her to take a deep dive into herself. Like, who am I and what do I really want out of this world? Which is essentially what happened to me. When you graduate and reach that milestone in life, you reflect and think, what is it I want? And how do I get there? So that was the reason why I opened EAST up that way. Ok. I can’t imagine a more catastrophic first impression than Ella barging in on a critically important studio meeting in her pajamas with yogurt dripping down her chin. Did you guys collaborate on that priceless moment? Dana: (laughs) Sometimes my strange comedic brain will go into dark places. So I thought, here is this woman who just made this major life decision and she’s still determined to do it and excited about it. But she’s unaware of what’s around her in that moment. She just needs to meet these people to help her start her career. I had to find a way to embarrass her.

So, the casting was an interesting mix of stereotypes and surprises. How did you pick the cast? Jolie: There were a lot of people we already knew who were part of the project. We did work with a casting director to bring in new people. We cast an entire season so there were a lot of roles—about 50 people. We have this beautiful cast of super-talented actors who are in the process of going after their own dreams. It’s basically a story inside a story. The energy was good and we were holding each other up. It was great. Dana: I had also worked with some of the cast in other projects. And we had shot a version of this pilot years prior before shooting the whole season. There’s just this extraordinary community of actors in New York City that work together and support each other. So getting to play together is such a dream.

Heather’s Niquil death is priceless, as is Ava’s line: “Heather dying is like the best thing that ever happened to me.” Dana: (laughs) That line is like the caricature of the selfish actress. I was thinking what if we remind people about some of the dark things that come up in life?

The scene where Ella is a little girl walking with her parents as they convince her to become a lawyer is a revealing glimpse into her character as an adult. Will other flashbacks reveal more of what formed Ella as a person? Dana: There aren’t other flashbacks in season one. The young girl who plays young Ella is Willa Skye, a really talented actress who’s been in a handful of movies. She also happens to be one of my best friend’s daughter. However the storyline with Ella and her family is very strong throughout the series. Whether she’s with her family or her sister, that dynamic plays out so beautifully. Jolie: But that’s not to say we won’t use that device later on.

You both have impressive bodies of work. What have you learned about this business that surprised you? Dana: Great question. What surprises me about this business is the magic of making a project. And the little things that come up that may look like obstacles. The way an actor drops into a role and, as a director, watches them transform into another person. The improvs and the genius that arises in everybody when they’re given the freedom to be as expressive as they want to be. Those beautiful little surprises are one reason why I love working in this business. It’s the creative magic that’s borne in the moment where you say, wow, we just did that. It just keeps you going. Jolie: You can ask that question to five people and you’ll get five different answers. Many people will say it’s not really a good time to do this. But the reasons why are so different. It’s this machine you have to deal with and you just have to keep pushing. You’re surprised by how quickly things change and how other people’s perspectives differ. And the way to keep going is to love what you are doing.

Official Advertising Poster for EAST The Series

Were there scenes you wanted to shoot but couldn’t due to time or money? Jolie: We shot the season in 2021 during Covid. As a SAG production, we were held to these very strict Covid guidelines. We had a Covid manager on set, we had to be Covid tested every 72 hours, and we had to wear masks. One of our actors tested positive for Covid—actually a false positive we later learned—so we had to shut down production for a day and we lost a location. We had some incredible cinematographers and crew. They were there for us.

What were you like in high school? The girl most likely to…? Jolie: I grew up in Los Angeles. So I would say, the girl most likely to move to New York (laughs). I’ve always had this East Coast vibe that people just picked up on. Dana: (laughs) I would say, the girl most likely to become a lawyer.

Hollywood Weekly • 27

28 28 •• Hollywood Hollywood Weekly Weekly

The most important thing in life is to forgive. No matter what anyone has done to you, the most important thing in life is to forgive and not hold grudges. Because that will make you sick. . .

In In thethe heart heart of of Baldwin Baldwin Hills, Hills, CA,CA, Dr. Saunders Dr. Saunders invokes invokes a storya of story triumph of over triumph adversity, overisadversity, a testament is a to testathe transformative ment to the transformative power of positivity power and of perseverance. positivity andFrom perseverance. the outset From of our conversation, the outset ofDr. our Saunders conversation, welcomed Dr. usSaunders with an unprecedented welcomed us with warmth, an sharing unprecedented openly about warmth, the challenges sharing sheopenly faced about in herthe early challenges life, navigating she both faced familial in herdifficulties early life,and navigating a battle with both breast familial cancer. difficulties Her remarkable and a battle tale with unfolds breast not cancer. as a victim Her remarkable but as a victor, tale unfolds a testament not as to aher victim indomitabut as a blevictor, spirit.a“The testament Cinderella to her Doctor,” indomitaherble upcoming spirit. “The book, Cinderella promisesDoctor,” to delve her even upcoming deeper book, intopromises the inspiring to narrative delve even of Dr. deeper Saunders. into the Theinspiring title itself narrative hints atofthe Dr.transformative Saunders. The title journey itself hints she has at the undertaken, transformative turning adversity journeyinto she accomplishment. has undertaken, turning It’s a story adversity she eagerly into accomplishment. shares with a world It’s hungry a story forshe tales eagerly of resilience. shares with Beyond a herworld clinical hungry practice, for tales Dr. Saunders of resilience. is theBeyond drivingher force clinical behind practice, “Hannaah Dr. H.E.L.P.S.,” Saundersan is organization the driving force embodying behind hope, “Hannaah endurance, H.E.L.P.S.,” love, peace, an organizaand tion embodying hope, endurance, love, peace, and success. With a mission to support those facing the challenges of breast cancer and other illnesses, Dr. Saunders leverages her extensive knowledge and experience to uplif those in need.

candidly shared the profound impact of success. With a mission to support those her mother’s tumultuous relationship with facing the challenges of breast cancer and her,illnesses, a journeyDr. marked by jealousy, past other Saunders leverages her traumas,knowledge and cyclesand of abuse. This to painful extensive experience uplif backdrop, however, propelled Dr. Saunthose in need. ders towards her life’s calling – helping others overcome psychological In Her expertise extends to the realmbattles. of mental recounting struggles for materhealth, whereher sheown specializes in treating nal approval, Saunders acknowledged conditions such Dr. as depression, anxiety disthe transformative power forgiveness. orders, substance abuse, andofschizophrenia. Her poignant message resonates with Notably, her dedication extends to children universal truth:driven “The most important thing and adolescents, by a boundless comin life rooted is to forgive. matter what anyone passion in her No tumultuous upbringhas to you,inthe most important ing. Dr.done Saunders candidly shared thething in life isimpact to forgive them, and dotumultuous not hold profound of her mother’s grudges. Because will make you sick. relationship with her,that a journey marked by Yeah, that the mostand important thing I jealousy, pastistraumas, cycles of abuse. believe in backdrop, life.” This painful however, propelled Dr. Saunders towards her life’s calling – Our conversation with Dr. Saunders was helping others overcome psychological more In than an interview; it was a glimpse battles. recounting her own struggles for into a life shaped Dr. by hardship, maternal approval, Saunders resilience, acknowland, the ultimately, love. Wepower extend edged transformative ofour forgiveheartfelt gratitude to Dr. Saunders forwith ness. Her poignant message resonates sharingtruth: her compassion and wisdom within universal “The most important thing world, a beacon of hope in anyone the fieldhas of lifethe is to forgive. No matter what mental health and beyond.

done to you, the most important thing in life is to forgive them, and do not hold grudges. Because that will make you sick. Yeah, that is the most important thing I believe in life.” Our conversation with Dr. Saunders was more than an interview; it was a glimpse into a life shaped by hardship, resilience, and, ultimately, love. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Saunders for sharing her compassion and wisdom with the world, a beacon of hope in the field of mental health and beyond.

Her expertise extends to the realm of mental health, where she specializes in treating conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and schizophrenia. Notably, her dedication extends to children and adolescents, driven by a boundless compassion rooted in her tumultuous upbringing. Dr. Saunders in Hollywood Hollywood Weekly Weekly •• 29 29



Brandon: Thanks for taking time to do this interview! So, it says here you graduated from Howard University, how was your experience there? Dr. Saunders: Yeah, I graduated from Howard University Medical School. But in my last year, I did a double degree program. I got my MD from Howard University and my master’s in public health from Harvard University that same year. Brandon: That’s incredible, congratulations on that! And you definitely put it to great use for the 20 plus years that you’ve been doing your profession.

What is your goal for being featured on the magazine? Dr. Saunders:My goal about being featured on the magazine is to have people know who I am and know that I have a project called Hannah Helps, which originally was for people who are breast cancer survivors like I am, but it’s really to help people with any devastating illness or problem or any difficulty they need help and support with. Brandon: That’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. I know that’s probably been a really rough journey, and the fact that you can survive from this and then utilize this knowledge to help others, that’s very commendable. Dr. Saunders: I appreciate you for that. Yeah. I not only did I survive, I actually had stage three and I had a mastectomy and chemotherapy and radiation. And then five years later, it came back and spread to my brain. It was stage four and I was and I actually did die. I had what they call a near-death experience. I died and was sent back. Brandon: Do you recall anything from that? Would you be comfortable to kind of speak about that experience? Dr. Saunders: Yea, I do. I could no longer work because it had spread to my brain and I was bedridden. I knew that the life was going out of my body. My soul and body were separating, and then it finally happened.I could see my dead body; I wasn’t in it. My soul and spirit left my body, and I finally left this world and started to ascend. I was told, a voice from above said, “you have to go back, there are 30 • Hollywood Weekly

things you must do, steps you must take.” And I found myself going back into this world and back into my body, and I was alive. Then I thought, well, what am I going to do? I still have terminal brain cancer.. what’s going to happen now? What ended up happening was that I was healed enough for me to go to a church convention, to a healing service in Nashville, Tennessee, from Los Angeles. I went to this healing service, and the head of the church laid hands on me, and I was healed. I came back to Los Angeles, went to my neurologist, and it took four months for the symptoms to completely reverse because I had neurological symptoms, and I had problems walking. Over a four month period of time, the symptoms reversed. So, I wasn’t completely healed in the beginning. But in those four months, the symptoms reversed, and in six months, I was back at work, and I told the neurologist what had happened. And he said, “but we’re physicians… we’re scientists.” I said, “I know we’re scientists, but there’s a scientist greater than we are because you couldn’t do anything to get me better.” Things have been fine since that. That was quite a while ago. I don’t believe I will have breast cancer ever again. Brandon: You put a warmth in my soul right now. Thank you so much. That was a great story for this morning; it has me feeling great. I didn’t know about near-death experiences until I read about it and I saw that there are people who have had these experiences. I feel like you took a very positive route in this experience because I feel I have a feeling some people would either be because of this experience. They see life in this way where they start to think, oh, okay, nothing matters. But you’re clearly making this a positive experience and trying to help other people through it. And I commend that so heavily, because I feel like that that can be a very potentially could be a very hopeless feeling. But you’ve you’ve come out of that phase and see the bigger picture of all this, which is so great. Dr. Saunders: What I believe I was sent back for, though, was to ultimately become a minister, which is something I never wanted to do because I’ve had a busy practice in

medicine and I never wanted to become a minister, ever. But I finally, after five years of running, I finally agreed to do that. So I’m an ordained minister. Brandon: Isn’t that so funny how stuff like that works? Like, you have this idea of your goals and what you believe, like, this is what you’re supposed to do. And then, the thing you hate or even something you just kind of like, is actually what you’re meant to be doing in this world. Dr. Saunders: It’s very interesting. So, I do both now; I practice medicine and I’m an ordained minister.

The mind-body connection is a topic gaining increased attention nowadays in your practice. How do you integrate holistic approaches to mental health, acknowledging the interconnectedness of physical and psychological well-being? Dr. Saunders: As a psychiatrist, which is a specialty of medicine, I prescribe medication. But it also makes me do other things like have them exercise and make sure they have a healthy diet. I also make sure they have a positive outlet, because most of my patients don’t, you know? They’re depressed, they’re anxious, and they don’t have a positive outlook on life. So, I try to reinforce that in addition to the medication prescriptions I give them.

As a psychiatrist, your work can be emotionally demanding. How do you prioritize your self-care and maintain your own mental well-being to ensure you can continue to provide effective support for others? Dr. Saunders: Well, I am able to do that because I am objective. I don’t get into other people’s problems. Although, at one time when I was before I went to medicine, I became an RN. When I was assigned to a mental health program at a psychiatric hospital, one patient had postpartum depression, and I became depressed. So, I left and went on vacation. I soon realized what was happening. I was allowing my feelings o get involved in

hers. So, when I came back from vacation, I was able to separate my feelings from hers, so that I don’t allow anyone’s issues to become mine. I don’t get involved. I’m completely objective. Therefore, I’m not depressed. Brandon: Was anything you saw reminding you of your own life or did you see some type of personal familiarity within what she was going through? Dr. Saunders: No. She was depressed because she had a baby. Sometimes, you end up with postpartum depression, and your brain chemicals are so out of control. She actually didn’t want her baby. But no, there was nothing about me that reminded me of her. It was just her problems that were affecting me, because I wasn’t objective. Brandon: Yeah. It’s really interesting how the mind works like that. Or just being around people… you kind of are who you’re surrounding, Growing up, when my parents would tell me that I would say, oh, no, that’s not true. But it really does have an effect when you kind of just sit there and subconsciously kind of allow it to happen. Dr. Saunders: If you’re not objective and you don’t separate yourself from their problems… even suicides. I’ve had some people commit suicide. Not that many over the years, but since I’ve become a psychiatrist, I had a couple suicides. They don’t affect me either because of my objectivity. If I didn’t have that, I could become depressed as well.

What got you into psychiatry? Was it something just from a young age that you just knew? Dr. Saunders: I had a very difficult mother who hated me for a reason that was just illogical. I was three when she and my father divorced. She decided that it was my fault and held it against me. She was not a good mother to me; she was psychologically abusive. So, because I finally realized that she had issues, that’s what made me go into psychiatry. Yea, my mother was very difficult. I’ve been writing a book about my life called The Cinderella Doctor. See, with Cinderella, it was her stepmother who was psychologically abusive to her. In my case, it was my mother. But, when my mother was

growing up, she lost her mother when she was five years old. And she had a stepmother who was psychologically abusive. When she got married, and she had daughters, because she had three other daughters, and I was the oldest.. She had three other daughters and she didn’t mistreat them, she didn’t psychologically abuse them. It was just me that she did that to. But it’s okay, because it really helped me grow up. It helped me, actually. I was successful because of my mother. I wanted to please her. So I went to school and I had her at my medical school graduation, and she still had that hateful spirit. When I graduated, she said, “well, I thought you’re going to be a real doctor. “ In other words, I wasn’t the real doctor. She wanted her daughter, who became an attorney, to be a doctor, and she would have been the real doctor. But that’s history came to me and she said, I don’t want to do that. And I said, you can’t do what someone else asks you to do. You have to do what you want to do. And she became an attorney. So my mother never got the real doctor. But later on in life, my mother actually changed and she did accept me for who I was. She sat down and explained to me what happened between her and my father. She said, well, he gave you the love that should have been for her. There’s a difference between love between a parent and their child and love between a married couple. So I thought my mother was disturbed, and she was. Because that’s not normal thinking. You don’t blame your position on a three year old child. And he wasn’t even around because he was in the war, and I was born during that period. Brandon: I feel like a lot of people especially like as a college student myself, I think a lot of people can relate with you.. they’re in their major because they’re listening to their parents or their parents are trying to sculpt them into something that they might not be. And I find that amazing that you went through kind of a similar route, but you actually found a love for what you do, and you took your own path. Dr. Saunders: My mother never said she was proud of me, never acknowledged that I went to Harvard as well as Howard. I got two different two degrees in different universities

in the same year.. didn’t acknowledge it, But in the end, for the first time before she died, she told me she was proud of me. And she had never done that before Brandon: That was beautiful. How did that make you feel like going forward? Dr. Saunders: It made me feel good. I’m glad that she was able to do that while she was before she left this world. Although I would have been fine if she hadn’t. But it was better that that she had. I understood her whole situation. I just didn’t agree with it. You know, Brandon: 100%. What’s the one message that you want to leave for the world? Dr. Saunders: I would tell them the most important thing in life is to forgive. No matter what anyone has done to you, the most important thing in life is to forgive them, and not hold grudges. Because that will make you sick.

Dr. Saunder’s project: HANNA H.E.L.P.S is an organization that seeks to support those in need.

Hollywood Weekly • 31

Marketing Guru Dan Kennedy (left) and Dr. Emily (right) Co-author and Launching Dan Kennedy's Book 'Why Advertising Fails"

Is This The Year Your New Year’s Resolution Will Become a Reality? By Dr. Emily Letran and Melanie Rembrandt


id you make your New Year’s resolution yet? Do you want to lose weight, stop smoking, get a new job, or be healthier? Resolutions are a positive way to start the new year, but will you actually keep them? As we all know, most people do not. However, a select few start to make their dreams a reality on January 1st. How do they do it?

They have a clear vision of what they want and set specific goals to fulfill their big dreams.

When we have a vision and a commitment to achieve certain goals and fulfill that vision, it becomes much easier to decide our course of action. Specifically, when I coach my business 32 • Hollywood Weekly

clients, I often realize that they do not need time management. They need attention management! This is because where you focus your talent and resources will dictate the results and the speed with which you achieve those results. Meet TGo, the perfect example. In a world often content with the ordinary, Theresa “TGo” Goss stands as a beacon of innovation and relentless creativity. Her story is not just one of success; it’s a tale of a visionary spirit and an indomitable will. TGo embarked on her entrepreneurial journey with a heart full of dreams and a mind buzzing with ideas. With a sharp focus

on her goals, she started earning income by the age of 12. After serving with pride in the United States Navy, TGo leaped into the realm of technology. Here, she blossomed as a computer programmer and a creative director, a rare combination of roles that showcased her unique blend of technical skill and artistic vision. In 2004, TGo shattered the glass ceiling with Black Insight Magazine, or “BIM,” the first all-digital interactive magazine for African Americans with 1.8 million subscribers. By entering the world of media, TGo used “authority positioning” to create a circle of influence and forge a path to success. This is something that my co-author Melanie Rembrandt and I coach our clients on regularly. Authority positioning focuses on working with media members at targeted venues so that they can share your message with their audiences. When these stories go live, you appear (or are positioned) as the authority in your particular industry or space. In TGo’s case, she has produced and directed radio and talk shows for over 19 years and is now producing her own media

Theresa Goss on the pink carpet of NOW Honors (Network of Outstanding Women) and the Power of PINK Summit

there did not begin as celebrities. They used various media platforms to give them the attention they needed to make their dreams a reality. You owe it to your business team not to be “the best kept secret.” You owe it to your family to optimize your business with authority positioning. You owe it to yourself to be the best version of yourself and share your unique insights and knowledge with others.

Are you ready to ditch your New Year’s resolution and focus on proven tactics to make your “dream life” goals a reality? I am pretty sure you are ready to take the new course of action! To accelerate and grow YOUR entrepreneurial journey with Authority Marketing, download Dr. Emily’s Action Business Acceleration guide at www.HollywoodWeeklySuccess.com

About Dr. Emily Letran, DDS

via documentaries and films. Her focus on authority positioning has earned her accolades like the ATHENA International TV & Producer Award and a place in the Nevada Women’s Hall of Fame for Entertainment & Media. Moreover, she is the architect of the NOW (Network of Outstanding Women) Honors, celebrating women who are changing the world. Check out her projects at tgo.fm. “But I don’t want to be In the media.” Yes, many of you are introverts or feel like it’s boasting to tell your story. But take a moment to think about this; the people who are in media are usually the ones who exceed in business (Oprah Winfrey, Sir Richard Branson, Judge Judy, Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz… the list goes on). This is because media exposure increases awareness, provides a competitive edge, and allows you to command a premium price. Don’t think of it as boasting. Think of it as sharing your unique message to provide value to your target market. After all, the more people who know about your business, the more people you will be able to serve, and the more impact you can create in your community. You can have more time or money to donate to charity. You can expand your business and create more jobs. Or perhaps, your media attention may lead to running for a political office and improving governing laws or making significant changes on an international level. Oprah and many of the other, ultra-successful businesspeople out

Dr Emily Letran is a serial entrepreneur, CEO of several multi-specialty dental practices, and private coach to many professionals. As an international speaker, she has been on TEDx and shared stages with countless business leaders including Sharon Lechter (Co-Author Rich Dad Poor Dad) and Kevin Harrington (Shark Tank). She has been featured in several magazines as well as the media, Yahoo! Finance, Forbes, USA Today, and FOX. She is a contributing writer for industry magazines and the author of several books. She hosts her signature events, ACTION To WIN seminar, in several countries. Dr. Letran has been knighted as a Lady of The Royal Order of Constantine The Great and Saint Helen for her work in philanthropy and currently enjoys practicing dentistry with her daughter in Huntington Beach, CA. www.HuntingtonBeachCosmeticDentist.com.

About Author Melanie Rembrandt The founder of Rembrandt Communications ® , LLC, Melanie Rembrandt is an award-winning publicist, copywriter and speaker. She has helped thousands of entrepreneurs worldwide through her articles in top publications (such as Harvard Business Review, Thrive Global, Medium, Success, Under Armour, Dental Economics, etc.), presentations at Dan Kennedy’s No B.S., Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, American Writers and Artists Institute, PINK, and many other events, the “Simplify Your Business” C-Suite Radio podcast, and The Small Business PR Academy. A magna cum laude graduate of the prestigious UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, Melanie has appeared on all of the major television networks and is the author of “Simple Publicity,” (Foreword by Lee Milteer), “Secrets of Becoming a Publicist” (Published by AWAI) and “Dance Class Etiquette.” Entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 companies, and celebrities work with Melanie to boost positive awareness, credibility and sales fast. Not at her desk? You’ll probably find her helping others, kickboxing, dancing, or scuba diving with sharks! To learn more about Melanie, visit www.rembrandtwrites.com.

Dr. Emily Letran on the cover of Top Doctor magazine and Melanie Rembrandt on cover of Soar To Success magazine.

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Hollywood Weekly • 33

Robert James Atton: A Filmmaker’s Odyssey By Brandon Webster


obert James Atton emerges as a luminary whose ardor for the essence of cinema transcends conventional understanding. A polymath in the realm of filmmaking, Atton seamlessly weaves his expertise across an expansive spectrum, encompassing Special Effects Makeup, Producing, Production Design, Script Supervision, 2nd Assistant Directing, Key Grip, and Screenwriting. Atton epitomizes the significance of being well-rounded in one’s craft, not merely for the financial rewards it bestows, but for the profound love that saturates this pursuit of

34 • Hollywood Weekly

knowledge. His advocacy for perpetual learning resonates as a guiding beacon, as he attests to an ongoing education gleaned from each project undertaken. With a diverse skill set, Atton remains in a perpetual state of anticipation, ready to explore and challenge his capabilities across a kaleidoscope of film genres. Among his current ventures is the riveting project, “Stay Safe,” where Atton amplifies his commitment not only to the cinematic artistry but also to the well-being and camaraderie of the dedicated crew and staff. In a candid reflection, Atton expresses deep gratitude for the visionary Executive

Producer, Alex Cohen, whose mentorship has bestowed upon him a treasure trove of tools to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of the film industry. These nuanced details unveil the profound joy that permeates Atton’s involvement in the filmmaking community. By striving to be the best version of himself, he imparts a legacy that echoes through time, a testament to the younger Atton who dared to dream. Each day dedicated to the pursuit of creative endeavors becomes a tribute to the enduring spirit of an artist committed to the perpetual evolution of his craft. In the vast realm of cinema, Robert James Atton stands as not just a filmmaker but a custodian of the

cinematic spirit, tirelessly inspiring the next generation to embrace the ever-unfolding magic of storytelling through the lens. How do you manage juggling all of the many roles you play in the production of films? Atton: The smaller independent films I can manage it, I mean a bigger film I would just take one role and that’s what is you know. But I don’t mind. I can juggle—it’s not easy, but at the same time it saves money on the budget versus paying three people to do three different tasks. When you have someone on the team that is knowledgeable and has experience of these tasks already. What is a recent film you worked or are currently working on that you would like to shoutout? Atton: ”Things Greater Than Us” I originally got hired for special effects but the production was understaffed at first, so the Key Grip guy and I took on a couple other roles because we’ve had previous experience in film and that’s how I jumped into producing then taking up multiple other roles. The director is a down to earth person and I wanted to push on this film because for hist first time directing he did a great job. Me and the Key Grip guy really learned a lot working on that film, we turned a nothing crew into a full length film crew and actually getting the movie done. The original director we had to get him arrested. That was a whole story so you know there’s always something fun going on. What are some of the outside sources from your occupation that helped inspire you and your creativity for your unique perspectives? Atton: Growing up I’ve always had a huge imagaination, my younger sisters and I would come up with these interesting games as kids. But I would say a big push was my uncle. He was one of the only members in my family that had an artistic talent and he never used it so I guess that encouraged me to actually pursue my creative talent so I wouldn’t take the same route in life. If the whole world was tuned into our conversation right now, what is a message you would have for them at this very moment? Atton: No matter what you want to do in life, always go for it—push yourselves. There is always going to be roadblocks but if you want it bad enough, you’ll get by it.

“I’m more about enjoying my career, enjoying working on film. Like the money is great—pays the bills, but I’m more about im there for the movie you know” Hollywood Weekly • 35

Rhythmic Alchemist: Joe Sparrow’s Spellbinding Fusion Takes LA by Storm By Brandon Webster


os Angeles’ music scene holds many hidden talents waiting to be illuminated into the spotlight, and Joe Sparrow is one of those gems. Blending charisma, profound storytelling, and an irresistible fusion of pop and R&B. Hailing from the northern reaches of San Francisco, Sparrow has seamlessly transitioned into the heartbeat of California’s entertainment capital, leaving an indelible mark on the sonic landscape. Sparrow’s music isn’t a mere auditory experience; it’s a journey into the extraordinary. It invites both devoted fans and newcomers into a realm of unworldly sounds that evoke a temporary, blissful state resonating deep within the soul. Whether you’re enveloped in the comfort of your own space or swept up in the energy of a live performance, he has mastered the art of ensuring a great time.

36 • Hollywood Weekly

What sets Sparrow apart isn’t just his magnetic stage presence but his prowess as a self-composer. His productions are a testament to his musical acumen, creating sonic landscapes that reverberate with an infectious energy. Beyond the beats, Sparrow’s lyricism is a masterclass in storytelling, drawing from the rich tapestry of his own experiences. Sparrow’s music transcends mere entertainment; it’s a vibrant, pulsating party that demands attention. His ability to craft a unique atmosphere is unparalleled, compelling listeners to surrender their senses to the euphoria emanating from his compositions. Stay in the loop with Joe Sparrow’s sonic escapades and mark your calendars because, on January 9th, 2024, he’s unleashing his next single, “Whatever, I’m With Her,” across all major streaming platforms. It’s a date that promises to be a musical revelation, a glimpse into Sparrow’s

ever-evolving artistry. Our conversation with Mr. Sparrow was nothing short of delightful, and as he embarks on his journey to stardom, Hollywood Weekly extends its sincerest wishes for an ascent as meteoric as his beats. Keep the rhythm alive, Joe Sparrow, and here’s to the pursuit of musical excellence.

So, what’s your whole background? How’d you get to this position that you’re at today with music? Sparrow: So I started like you know every musician, I started pretty young. You know, it’s like you get the itch, I was like what 12, 13, when I started on drums. Was playing in rock bands as a drummer in high school. When I was 18, I got the itch to sing. It was like something started pulling me and I began singing and I realized, oh man, I love this way, way, way more than I like drums, um, but I

was glad I had that drumming foundation, you know, because it’s like I had the understanding of rhythm and all that stuff and an understanding of music. And then I started teaching myself piano, started writing songs and then within a year, I started a band and we started playing shows and kind of building a following and eventually, at the peak, we were touring and opening for some bigger bands. We were an alternative band, similar to The Killers or like The Strokes. And there’s the thing that’s interesting with writing, is that I think songwriting (especially pop writing) is fun. You know I’m a pop artist. At the end of the day, I think pop writing it’s kind of like what we were talking about with graphic design. It’s deceptively simple, but there’s a lot of kind of I don’t want to say rules, because there really are no rules to music, but there are guidelines. I really did like a lot of your songs. I was listening to your latest release, “Little Cleopatra”, what was the process behind it? Sparrow: Oh yeah, thanks man. I’m glad you liked it. So, what was interesting with that one was I remember driving and you know

you’re an artist so I’m sure you’ll relate to this. Like things will just come to you. So that one, the bass line came to my head. I started just singing that and I was like oh, that’s pretty dope. So I put that in a voice memo. So then I built around it, and then for me melody is king. Like the most important thing for me in any song is melody. I’m a sucker for melody, see that’s the pop person in me. It’s like everything that I do, I want it to be melodic and catchy in some way, and so then it was building the Melody and then, lyrically, I was with my girlfriend at the time and we were kind of in that like honeymoon phase, gotcha, where you’re just like you know, when you just start, absolutely it’s like a drug. It’s the period of a month or two months or maybe three months in. You know where you’re comfortable now with them, but you’re still excited. It’s that middle ground. And then, yeah, sonically, you know you like House, I kind of wanted to have kind of a rhythm for that beat. But you know I still wouldn’t call it a House song by any means, or like Deep House, it’s definitely a pop song. But I kind of wanted some of that element in the song. It’s a bit of a dance trap.

Brandon: Beautifully said. When you explain it like that, I get the vibe now, one hundred percent. How everything’s constructed, it definitely does embody that type of feeling. I love hearing the backstory behind a lot of songs. Maybe it’s just me, like sometimes the song could be cool, but then hearing what actually went into the song makes me appreciate it way more. I feel music videos have that type of effect too, you could listen to something, but once you see a visual aspect behind it, it’s like, oh dang, something about it just rewires your brain. It’s a little bit easier to digest now because you can see the whole scenery of the song’s atmosphere.

Joe Sparrow, Singer, Songwriter

Hollywood Weekly • 37


Almost Grownups 2018 Producer 38 • Hollywood Weekly

No Game Like Foxes 2020 Executive Producer

Shooting Heroin 2020 Executive Producer


Cinematic Brilliance Meets Comedy Gold:

The Anthony Bambocci Experience By Brandon Webster In the ever-evolving realm of entertainment, where creativity reigns supreme, Anthony Bambocci stands tall as a dynamic force, seamlessly weaving through the diverse roles of filmmaker, writer, entrepreneur, and surprise—side-splitting comedian. Bambocci’s relentless work ethic knows no bounds, catapulting him into a league of his own, where the sky is merely a starting point for his boundless artistic endeavors. Recent offerings from this polymath include the gripping “Shooting Heroin,” the enigmatic “No Game Like Foxes,” the racing documentary “Dancing with the Devil” and a TV series with an edge, “Almost Grownups,” a sitcom echoing the influence of iconic shows like Seinfeld and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Not content with conquering one medium, Bambocci has a recent book deal from a publisher that delves into the depths of addiction and is currently being shopped to studios as a movie. In an animated discussion about his sitcom series, Bambocci shared, “Something I am trying to capture in this sitcom is that each character gets their own episodic threads, and somehow they all connect at the end. You know, I wanted to recreate that Seinfeldian feel — where all the stories somehow intertwine and give the viewer closure at the end.” Surrounded by friends-turned-employees, living a life of opulence. Yet, amidst the perpetual vacation, a yearning for deeper purpose emerges. Thus unfolds the inaugural season of “Almost Grownups,” a gripping narrative of self-discovery, where every twist introduces a new ensemble of characters. Bambocci’s attention to detail is nothing short of inspirational, breathing life into every frame of his work. But the narrative doesn’t end there—enter the world of laughter with Bambocci’scomedic alter ego in “The Stone Man Live - I’m So Annoyed Comedy Tour.” The maestro has also

See, I’m a learner and I

believe that the more you learn, the more you force yourself outside of your comfort zone, the better you grow as a human. And when you stop learning, you stop living, at least that’s in my view.

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in the film industry? Bambocci: I always wanted to be an entertainer, ever since I was like 14 or 15 years old, and I wanted to be a talk show host. So I would go around with a tape recorder and ask questions to everybody in my house. Then one day my dad broke the tape recorder. Both my parents said, listen, it’s a long shot, get a real job and you can come back to this later in life if that’s something you want to pursue. And that’s how my dad ended my talk show career early. Later, I became the CEO of my own tech company, and when you are the CEO, your main job is selling, which means you are always telling stories. The entertainment world is just storytelling through different means – so it wasn’t that far of a leap for me. Could you talk about any challenges that you have run into from past projects or upcoming films that you are currently working on Bambocci: Yes, ‘Shooting Heroin’ was interesting, probably because it was going to go in a limited theater release. But then, Covid hit, and then it went straight to streaming platforms. The problem with straight to streaming is, you know, even if it’s probably still on Netflix – if the company isn’t behind you marketing it and promoting it, it’s really hard to get noticed when you’re in a library of a million movies.

graciously shared a sneak peek into several upcoming projects. Working with Spencer Folmar and Dan Roebuck, “Saint Nick of Bethlehem” is a tearjerker Christmas story about love, loss and redemption. Timothy – God’s Son (The Other One) is a dark comedy about what would happen if God sent another son to save the world in the 21st century. As we eagerly await the unveiling of “Saint Nick of Bethlehem,” and “Timothy” one can’t help but marvel at the tapestry Bambocci weaves—a mosaic of passion, humor, and an unwavering commitment to pushing creative boundaries. Prepare to be enchanted as Anthony Bambocci takes center stage, not just as a filmmaker but as a storyteller redefining the very essence of entertainment. The journey has only just begun, and the destination promises to be nothing short of extraordinary.

Anthony Bambocci’s book, Satyromaniac, under his penname, R. J. Covington.

Hollywood Weekly • 39


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